We will recall that on Sunday, October 16, 2022, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs, the Rivers State Accord Governorship candidate for the 2023 elections, encountered some restrictions and was subsequently denied access to flood victims from Ahoada East, Ahoada West and Abua Local Government Areas, by persons claiming to be security operatives acting on the express instructions of the PDP led Local Council executive in that area.
Chief Lulu-Briggs, a much beloved son of Rivers State, already renowned for his humatarian philanthropy and generosity, had set out on his compassionate mission of mercy, with his team, devoid of any political insinuations or covert propaganda to score cheap political points or gains, to deliver and distribute a massive load of relief materials, including, beddings, foodstuffs and other items, to the Internally Displaced Persons, rendered homeless by the devastating floods which is presently ravaging the country, particularly in Rivers State, where the victims had been relocated to makeshift camps and living under the most terrible existential conditions, at the edge of life and in the shadows of existence.
Following the mean-spirited, unwavering position of the security agents that Chief Lulu-Briggs and his team must first get clearance and authorization from the local council chairman before they can be granted access to the camps to visit and distribute relief items to the led govwhen he went to give assistance to those that were hit by the flood and Sadly, he came back with the truck loads of foodstuffs and relief materials he took to them.
Disappointed and thoroughly frustrated by the low and dangerous levels of political chicanery which has been played and exhibited by agents of this present PDP led administration in our dear once revered State, to the extent of preventing life giving assistance to the needy, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs resolved that no amount of inhumanity to man can push him to relent in getting these items to the internally displaced flood victims, and he would continue to explore avenues and will not rest until their needs are rightly met.
And so, in keeping with his promise, the initiator of: “The We agenda, putting people first”, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs set out resolutely again with his team on Thursday, October 20, to the Ogbudu IDP camp, in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni LGA, to meet and interact with the IDPs, distribute relief materials and share some joy and laughter with these Rivers people who have been left at the mercy of God Almighty, the vicissitudes of an unexpected dislocation and the vagaries of the harsh elements, after the natural disaster had sacked them from the domestic comforts of their homes. And this time, he succeeded.
You see, the word of God is always Truth and nothing but the Truth. So, when it said, “God rules in the affairs of men”, this is truth. Because when the extraordinary philanthropist arrived at the IDP camp, events that greeted him at the camp turned out to be a proof that indeed, God sent him there to save lives, and it was timely.
Though the ugly storms of dangerous politics at the detriment of human lives tried to destroy great destinies by the earlier restrictions, but He who rules in the affairs of men troubled the good heart of Dumo Lulu-Briggs to persevere into getting to them.
It was no doubt a horrible sight, as women, children and infants were found lying on bare floors, bare cement floors at the IDP camp. The so called IDP camp was an uncompleted building with no windows, no doors, no water, no convenience, and most of the roofing sheets of this dilapidated building were already off.
At the IDP camp, Dumo Lulu-Briggs and his response team met people with all manner of sicknesses and diseases, for they have been living under intense hardship with obvious look of, “this might be our last days on earth, unless help comes”, pathetic situation. Just like it happened with Elijah and the Widow at Zarephath, that had so little left for she and her son to eat and die, if not for the timely arrival and intervention of Prophet Elijah that God sent.
Dumo Lulu-Briggs is indeed the Prophet Elijah of the IDP camp in Ogbudu, sent by God, for he brought joy, care and succour to the lives of many when he arrived; as he quickly summoned an on the spot Medicare service unit and commenced the orderly distribution of foodstuffs and relief materials, (mosquito nets and matterasses inclusive).
It will interest Rivers people to know that, there were 3 pregnant women that were already in labour that the team met at the camp. Shockingly, very shockingly that is, these women have been lying down on bare and cold cement floors since their unfortunate arrival at the camp. They were medically attended to, and appropriate long term arrangement immediately made for them to deliver in safe and good condition of health.
Indeed, the horrible condition of these people’s stay at the camp is regrettable, excruciatingly painful and, worse of all, it was a place where even animals shouldn’t be kept, talk more of human beings.
We can only describe these conditions by those in charge of the situation, no matter the circumstances, as inhumane, devoid of any iota of leadership or governance responsiveness and a manifestation of deliberate wickedness, to keep fellow human beings who also have the right to life and the rights to good life and comfort, in such a terrible state. This height of wickedness shouldn’t be imagined at all.
Rivers people have gone through a lot, they don’t need these tribulations they are going through right now. How can a State government keep these lives whose situation isn’t their doing but that of natural disaster in such a terrible deplorable condition? They are human beings for crying out loud, Not goats, and then you went ahead to abandon them to their fate and the harsh elements! This is terrible and so sad, a reality none should wish for his or her enemy.
All well meaning people, organizations and groups, including Political parties, should, without politicizing the situation, strongly condemn these observed acts of inhuman acts exhibited by those put directly in charge of managing these camps and the displaced person and by extension those who have put them in charge, which by implication, is the PDP led Rivers State government.
These people in the IDP camps are in dire need of assistance, and the effort to give that assistance has been very disappointing, and then you issue a bureaucratic directive politicizing the process of granting access, aimed at discouraging and subsequently preventing people from giving that assistance you are dragging your feet to give to the flood victims, simply because in your small selfish mind, these people that are in need of dire help and whose only thought at the moment is to survive, will see that other persons from other Political parties are actually the ones bringing help to them and not you?
Honestly, we must outgrow this sort of politics of bitterness, selfishness and small mindedness that has birthed the ugly narrative that “politics in Nigeria is dirty”. We must rather act in a manner which will see politics to be an act of giving your all in Service to the people in the everyday of their lives, and not to see it as a channel to be vindictive, self-service and become the terror that will be destructive to the people.
It is quite disheartening and unfortunate that an administration which has treated the devastating flood situation in Rivers State with it’s usual cosmetic bureaucratic levity and subjected the flood victims to some of the most horrible and terrible living conditions as Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in camps that are bare, cold, heartless and cruelly abandoned for long periods, will embark on a donation spree with the people’s Commonwealth, to gift to some rich and comfortable people in other States, who certainly don’t need such extravagantly generous gifts as much as the flood victims do, just to gain cheap political recognition, at the detriment of Rivers lives.
And so after attending to the people at the IDP camp in Ogbudu, ONELGA, the humanitarian response team, then proceeded to Ahoada, where Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs met with the Ekpeye flood committee, which was more aggreable and accommodating.
On arrival, the joy that filled the atmosphere was indeed such that left no one in doubt that the visit of the team had been eagerly anticipated. The spokesperson of the committee, Chief David Chigemerem, who is also the Secretary, Ekpeye Council of Traditional Rulers and Chiefs, expressed it’s appreciation to the Response team for coming to visit, and then rolled out the needs of the flood victims and the items that would be required to give them the necessary succor and comfort under the very sparse conditions of the camp..
In his response, Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs thanked them for taking up the responsibility of managing the quite challenging task at hand. He told them of the ugly experience he and his team had encountered the first time they came out to render this very necessary assistance to the flood victims, but were restricted by agents who claimed they were acting on the instructions of the Local government administration.
According to him, while he was heading to the IDP camp they refused them access to, he saw the devastation and suffering of his people, and this is one pathetic situation too hard for anybody to manage, yet, he believes that surely Rivers people will come out of it. But that for now, they will need every necessary help and courage from willing and good hearted people, which he has vowed to deliver without rest and use all at his disposal to give.
Dumo Lulu-Briggs made the committee to understand that, as at today, Rivers people are living on 3 questions: Where to Live? How to Live and on what money to Live? On this note, he said, “we cannot say that we can boast about anything at this time of our disastrous situation, save that we must proffer solutions to the sufferings of Rivers people. This is the time to show empathy, and try to see what we can do for the teeming number of our people who are displaced from their homes”, he said.
He informed them of the 3 women the team met at the Ogbogu IDP camp that were in labour, and how the team immediately made all necessary provisions for the women to deliver safely. He added, “so you can imagine, 3 children will be born in that IDP camp, in such a deplorable condition, with a lot of sick people, a situation you cannot wish your enemy, for those that have enemy”, he said.
He however stated, “we shall not rest until we deal with the situation, even if it means sending a delegation to the floor of the United Nations, so that the International community will come to our aid and help us to address this problem”, he said. “We are hopeful that by the special grace of God, this will be the last any Rivers/ Nigerian person or anyone at all will suffer an ugly situation as this”, Dumo Lulu-Briggs, prayed.
The State Publicity Secretary, Mr Iyene Douglas, also advised other Governorship candidates in other political parties in the State not to relent in their determination to reach out, irrespective of the real or perceived challenges of restrictions that they may encounter from persons who may have been commissioned by the PDP led government.
He further charged them to take a cue from the exemplary act of Dumo Lulu-Briggs, who has shown that the love for the people is stronger than any force of resistance/restrictions, and they should resiliently keep trying until they reach out to the people.
We make bold to say therefore, that the reaching out as displayed by the Accord Governorship candidate, Dumo Lulu-Briggs, whose mantra is “putting human lives first” is purely on the grounds of empathy. He has been doing this in and out of election seasons, a duty he has been assigned to by God, a calling he has without doubt, found pleasure in answering.
For him, it will be more profitable to lead a people that are alive and living in good health, Not otherwise.
State Publicity Secretary,